sluggish animation performance

I just got a fairly highend laptop 1.8ghz 4 core, 6gb ram, 1gb video card and right now I am trying to do playback some animation, although I am having trouble getting 25 fps. The best I can get with the mesh in the scene is 23fps. I check my cpu consumption and its only using a third of its processing. Clearly Blender is not making full use of my comps hardware.

So I am wondering what can I do to get Blender to make better use of my hardware available?

I understand multithreading is something new for Blender which there has been added support in sculpt and rendering, but what about animation?

Is there any other settings I can change to reduce processing needs while watching anim playback? eg turn off lighting, shading, or materials. I want to be rendered, just not calculated in the viewport.

I discovered that turning off minimaps in the user preferences->system panel gave me a 3fps gain.

Any other suggestions or articles covering this topic?

The biggest drag I have found on UI anim playback is density of meshes displayed in the 3D Window. That’s why I use animation proxies for anything but the most primitive meshes with very lowpoly count. I’m not sure how much hardware capability helps in this regard, BTW, it’s been a problem with every comp I run on, regardless of dore count CPU speed, RAM or graphics card. Better machines perform better, but still not to run medium-to-high-rez meshes at full FPS in realtime.

Turning off Textured Solid/GLSL helps, as does having none of the Editor windows open (Dope Sheet, Action Editor, Graph Editor, etc.). These last can be “window-shaded” rather than closed completely, as long as the data isn’t shown, it seems to let things run faster.

Also turn off any unneeded Modifiers on the stack(s), in particular those that generae or modifiy mesh structure, like Mask and SubSurf.

Chip mentioned turning off deforming modifiers, which is good – if you havea lot of meshes with subsurf, sculpt, etc, there is a global “simplify” option that usually works really good – set it to subsurf level of 0, and subsurf for all meshes will be disabled, you can also turn off hair density, etc

also – choosing “frame dropping” or “AV-sync” in the timeline will bring playback to realtime, although by skipping frames, but it usually works sufficiently.